For Immediate Release - July 16, 2009

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley Enters into Settlement with Satellite TV Provider Dish Network Resolving Allegations of Unfair and Deceptive Sales Practices

BOSTON - Today , Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Attorneys General of 45 other states entered into a $5 million settlement agreement with Colorado-based DISH Network, L.L.C., to resolve allegations that it engaged in unfair and deceptive sales practices, including failing to make adequate disclosures to consumers and charging credit cards and bank accounts without proper authorization. Massachusetts will receive $125,000 under the terms of the settlement, which will be used to fund local consumer aid programs.

Under the terms of the agreement, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, DISH Network also agreed to pay restitution to consumers and to accept limits to how it can market services in the future. Specifically, the company has agreed to give adequate and accurate disclosures to customers in sales calls, advertising, and contracts.

"With the recent digital conversion, more consumers have subscribed to satellite and cable television," said Attorney General Coakley. "Providers must be fair and provide clear information to consumers about the costs and obligations of their products."

The settlement resolves the states' allegations that DISH Network had:

  • Failed to disclose all terms and conditions of its customer agreements, including the availability of rebates, credits, and free offers;
  • Failed to disclose that purchased or leased equipment was previously used and/or refurbished;
  • Made telemarketing calls to consumers in violation of "do-not-call" rules;
  • Refused to accept responsibility for the misconduct of its third-party retailers and installers;
  • Made reference to competitors' price offers when the goods or services being compared were materially different; and
  • Charged customer credit cards and debited bank accounts without providing adequate notice and obtaining appropriate authorization.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company will offer restitution to eligible consumers who filed complaints with the Attorney General's Office or with DISH Network between January 1, 2004 and July 16, 2009. In addition, consumers who file complaints by December 15, 2009, directly with DISH Network, with the Attorney General's Office or the Better Business Bureau, may be eligible for restitution if they suffered a loss due to conduct which occurred within the past two years.

Consumers may send complaints or inquiries directly to DISH Network, by email to CEO@dishnetwork.com, or by mail to the following address:

DISH Network, L.L.C.
Dispute Resolution Team
P.O. Box 9040
Littleton, CO 80120

For more information, consumers can also contact the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline, at (617) 727-8400, or visit the Attorney General's website, at www.mass.gov/ago .

In addition to Massachusetts, the Attorneys General of the following states participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General David Monahan, Deputy Chief of Attorney General Coakley's Consumer Protection Division.

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